Weston’s MP John Penrose has welcomed a significant half-a-million pound investment in North Somerset mental health services for children and young people.
The money comes after John noticed an alarming increase in the number of parents contacting him about long delays in getting mental health support for their children. In a joint letter with Liam Fox in 2017 John wrote: “We are seeing an increasing number of parents in our surgeries struggling with securing services for their disabled children […..] Parents are trying to cope alone at home for long periods of time with children who are often violent to other family members and suicidal.”
John then met health chiefs at the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and North Somerset Council repeatedly, to push for action. Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected the service, demanding improvements after finding ‘significant areas of weakness in the local area’s practice. And then a report from the Children’s Commissioner found that almost two thirds of those in North Somerset referred for mental health diagnosis (62%) were sent away without treatment compared to England’s average of just over a third (37%).
Responding to the news of extra funds John said: “It can be physically and emotionally exhausting for any family to cope with a child suffering from mental health problems. Getting specialist help early enough to prevent things from getting worse can make all the difference. This extra cash is a vital step for the hard-pressed families who’ve been visiting my surgery to discuss their problems. With any luck it will help hundreds of North Somerset’s children grow up living happier, healthier lives.”